GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC review – Part 3: Ubuntu 22.04 Linux

After going through an unboxing and teardown for the GEEKOM Mini Air12, we tested the Intel Processor N100 mini PC with Windows 11 Pro, and we’ve now had time to check Ubuntu 22.04 on the device and will report our experience with Linux in the third part of the review.

We tested the hardware features, networking and storage performance, YouTube video streaming, and ran some benchmarks in Ubuntu 22.04, before checking out the cooling performance, fan noise, and power consumption of the GEEKOM Mini Air12 in Linux.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC Review Ubuntu 22.04 Linux

We installed Ubuntu 22.04 alongside Windows 11, after having shrunk the Windows 11 partition by about half before inserting a USB drive with Ubuntu 22.04.3 ISO, and the installation went smoothly with no drivers missing.

Disk Management Partition

Ubuntu 22.04 system information

Mini Air12 Ubuntu

The About window in the settings confirms we have a mini PC with a quad-core Intel Processor N100 SoC, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD running Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS 64-bit.

We can get a few more details from the command line:

aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ cat /etc/lsb-release
DISTRIB_ID=Ubuntu
DISTRIB_RELEASE=22.04
DISTRIB_CODENAME=jammy
DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS"
aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ uname -a
Linux mini-air12-cnx 6.2.0-39-generic #40~22.04.1-Ubuntu SMP PREEMPT_DYNAMIC Thu Nov 16 10:53:04 UTC 2 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ free -mh
               total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
Mem:            15Gi       1.5Gi        11Gi       447Mi       2.4Gi        13Gi
Swap:          2.0Gi          0B       2.0Gi
aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ df -mh
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
tmpfs           1.6G  2.6M  1.6G   1% /run
/dev/nvme0n1p5  233G   15G  206G   7% /
tmpfs           7.7G   49M  7.7G   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs           5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
/dev/nvme0n1p1   96M   81M   16M  84% /boot/efi
tmpfs           1.6G  184K  1.6G   1% /run/user/1001

The rootfs partition is only 233GB in size because the rest of the drive is used for Windows 11.

aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ inxi -Fc0
System:
  Host: mini-air12-cnx Kernel: 6.5.0-14-generic x86_64 bits: 64
    Desktop: GNOME 42.9 Distro: Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish)
Machine:
  Type: Server System: GEEKOM product: Mini Air12 v: N/A
    serial: <superuser required>
  Mobo: N/A model: N/A serial: <superuser required>
    UEFI: American Megatrends LLC. v: 0.17 date: 07/26/2023
CPU:
  Info: quad core model: Intel N100 bits: 64 type: MCP cache: L2: 2 MiB
  Speed (MHz): avg: 700 min/max: 700/3400 cores: 1: 700 2: 700 3: 700
    4: 700
Graphics:
  Device-1: Intel driver: i915 v: kernel
  Display: wayland server: X.Org v: 1.22.1.1 with: Xwayland v: 22.1.1
    compositor: gnome-shell driver: gpu: i915 resolution: 1600x900~60Hz
  OpenGL: renderer: Mesa Intel Graphics (ADL-N)
    v: 4.6 Mesa 23.0.4-0ubuntu1~22.04.1
Audio:
  Device-1: Intel driver: snd_hda_intel
  Sound Server-1: ALSA v: k6.5.0-14-generic running: yes
  Sound Server-2: PulseAudio v: 15.99.1 running: yes
  Sound Server-3: PipeWire v: 0.3.48 running: yes
Network:
  Device-1: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet
    driver: r8169
  IF: enp1s0 state: down mac: 38:f7:cd:c6:5c:3f
  Device-2: Realtek driver: rtw89_8852be
  IF: wlp2s0 state: up mac: a4:d8:ca:04:e3:1a
Bluetooth:
  Device-1: Realtek Bluetooth Radio type: USB driver: btusb
  Report: hciconfig ID: hci0 state: up address: A4:D8:CA:04:F7:CF bt-v: 3.0
Drives:
  Local Storage: total: 476.94 GiB used: 15.61 GiB (3.3%)
  ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 vendor: Lexar model: SSD NM620 512GB size: 476.94 GiB
Partition:
  ID-1: / size: 232.52 GiB used: 15.54 GiB (6.7%) fs: ext4
    dev: /dev/nvme0n1p5
  ID-2: /boot/efi size: 96 MiB used: 80.3 MiB (83.6%) fs: vfat
    dev: /dev/nvme0n1p1
Swap:
  ID-1: swap-1 type: file size: 2 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) file: /swapfile
Sensors:
  System Temperatures: cpu: 27.8 C mobo: N/A
  Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A
Info:
  Processes: 257 Uptime: 3h 18m Memory: 15.39 GiB used: 4.06 GiB (26.4%)
  Shell: Bash inxi: 3.3.13

Inxi shows the Intel Processor N100 is clocked at up to 3400 MHz, a RealTek RTL8852BE WiFI 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 wireless module, and 512GB (actually 476.94GB) Lexar NM620 SSD. The CPU temperature looks really low at 27.8°C and that sensor appears to output bogus data. Nevertheless, as we’ll see below the cooling system is working as it should and the Mini Air12 mini PC won’t throttle.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 benchmarks in Ubuntu 22.04

We’ll start benchmarking the Mini Air12 in Ubuntu with Thomas Kaiser’s sbc-bench script:

aey@mini-air12-cnx:~/Downloads/sbc-bench-master$ sudo ./sbc-bench.sh -r
Starting to examine hardware/software for review purposes...

sbc-bench v0.9.60

Installing needed tools, updating cpufetch. Done.
Checking cpufreq OPP. Done.
Executing tinymembench. Done.
Executing RAM latency tester. Done.
Executing OpenSSL benchmark. Done.
Executing 7-zip benchmark. Done.
Throttling test: heating up the device, 5 more minutes to wait. Done.
Checking cpufreq OPP again. Done (10 minutes elapsed).

Results validation:

  * Measured clockspeed not lower than advertised max CPU clockspeed
  * No swapping
  * Background activity (%system) OK
  * Powercap detected. Details: "sudo powercap-info -p intel-rapl" -> https://tinyurl.com/4jh9nevj

# GEEKOM Mini Air12  / N100

Tested with sbc-bench v0.9.60 on Mon, 15 Jan 2024 16:42:54 +0700.

### General information:

    Information courtesy of cpufetch:
    
    Name:                Intel(R) N100
    Microarchitecture:   Alder Lake
    Technology:          10nm
    Max Frequency:       3.400 GHz
    Cores:               4 cores
    AVX:                 AVX,AVX2
    FMA:                 FMA3
    L1i Size:            64KB (256KB Total)
    L1d Size:            32KB (128KB Total)
    L2 Size:             2MB
    L3 Size:             6MB
    Peak Performance:    435.20 GFLOP/s
    
    N100, Kernel: x86_64, Userland: amd64
    
    CPU sysfs topology (clusters, cpufreq members, clockspeeds)
                     cpufreq   min    max
     CPU    cluster  policy   speed  speed   core type
      0        0        0      700    3400   Alder Lake
      1        0        1      700    3400   Alder Lake
      2        0        2      700    3400   Alder Lake
      3        0        3      700    3400   Alder Lake

15755 KB available RAM

### Policies (performance vs. idle consumption):

Status of performance related policies found below /sys:

    /sys/module/pcie_aspm/parameters/policy: default [performance] powersave powersupersave

### Clockspeeds (idle vs. heated up):

Before at 52.0°C:

    cpu0: OPP: 3400, Measured: 3391 

After at 75.0°C:

    cpu0: OPP: 3400, Measured: 3391 

### Performance baseline

  * memcpy: 10459.3 MB/s, memchr: 15820.1 MB/s, memset: 10665.4 MB/s
  * 16M latency: 139.5 122.6 139.9 122.7 138.7 114.9 110.6 115.7 
  * 128M latency: 152.8 145.7 152.6 146.0 151.9 140.9 128.6 130.5 
  * 7-zip MIPS (3 consecutive runs): 13904, 13950, 13976 (13940 avg), single-threaded: 3820
  * `aes-256-cbc     925537.95k  1179001.17k  1218698.92k  1229300.74k  1232218.79k  1232044.03k`
  * `aes-256-cbc     933934.18k  1179096.04k  1218817.28k  1229161.81k  1232142.34k  1233283.75k`

### PCIe and storage devices:

  * Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet: Speed 2.5GT/s (ok), Width x1 (ok), driver in use: r8169
  * Realtek RTL8852BE PCIe 802.11ax Wireless Network: Speed 2.5GT/s (ok), Width x1 (ok), driver in use: rtw89_8852be
  * 476.9GB "Lexar SSD NM620 512GB" SSD as /dev/nvme0: Speed 8GT/s (ok), Width x4 (ok), 0% worn out, drive temp: 39°C
  * Macronix MX25L25635E 32MB SPI NOR flash, drivers in use: spi-nor/intel-spi

### Challenging filesystems:

The following partitions are NTFS: nvme0n1p3,nvme0n1p4 -> https://tinyurl.com/mv7wvzct

### Swap configuration:

  * /swapfile on /dev/nvme0n1p5: 2.0G (0K used)

### Software versions:

  * Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS
  * Compiler: /usr/bin/gcc (Ubuntu 11.4.0-1ubuntu1~22.04) 11.4.0 / x86_64-linux-gnu
  * OpenSSL 3.0.2, built on 15 Mar 2022 (Library: OpenSSL 3.0.2 15 Mar 2022)    

### Kernel info:

  * `/proc/cmdline: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-6.5.0-14-generic root=UUID=9ffe164c-1313-4a14-a235-c646b169775e ro quiet splash vt.handoff=7`
  * Vulnerability Spec store bypass:    Mitigation; Speculative Store Bypass disabled via prctl
  * Vulnerability Spectre v1:           Mitigation; usercopy/swapgs barriers and __user pointer sanitization
  * Kernel 6.5.0-14-generic / CONFIG_HZ=250

Waiting for the device to cool down...................................... 42.0°C^C

No CPU throttling was detected, and the temperature never exceeded 75°C so there’s plenty of legroom with regards to CPU temperature. The 7-zip average score was 13,940 points or fairly higher than the the 12,890 points achieved by the UP 7000 fanless SBC based on the same Intel N100 CPU (Unless PL1 and PL2 are both set to 25W in which case the UP 7000 score goes up to around 13,500). The test was done at an ambient temperature of around 28°C.

Let’s also check the power limits as requested by sbc-bench.sh script:

$ sudo powercap-info -p intel-rapl
enabled: 1
Zone 0
  name: package-0
  enabled: 1
  max_energy_range_uj: 262143328850
  energy_uj: 17309574583
  Constraint 0
    name: long_term
    power_limit_uw: 15000000
    time_window_us: 27983872
    max_power_uw: 6000000
  Constraint 1
    name: short_term
    power_limit_uw: 25000000
    time_window_us: 2440
    max_power_uw: 0
  Constraint 2
    name: peak_power
    power_limit_uw: 78000000
    max_power_uw: 0
  Zone 0:0
    name: core
    enabled: 0
    max_energy_range_uj: 262143328850
    energy_uj: 2629428510
    Constraint 0
      name: long_term
      power_limit_uw: 0
      time_window_us: 976
Zone 1
  name: psys
  enabled: 0
  max_energy_range_uj: 262143328850
  energy_uj: 1285737248
  Constraint 0
    name: long_term
    power_limit_uw: 0
    time_window_us: 27983872
  Constraint 1
    name: short_term
    power_limit_uw: 0
    time_window_us: 976

PL1 is set to 15W and PL2 to 25W, while the (mostly useless) TDP number is 6W.

Let’s now evaluate the CPU performance with Geekbench 6.2.2.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 Geekbench 6.2.2 Linux

The single-core score is 1,213 points, and the multi-core score is 3,272 points. You’ll find the full results on the GeekBench website.

We started testing GPU performance in Ubuntu 22.04 with Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 where the GEEKOM Mini Air12 got an average of 12.0 fps and a 303 points score at a resolution of 1920×1080.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 Linux

Time to play a few 4K and 8K YouTube videos in Chrome…

GEEKOM Mini Air12 YouTube 4K 30fps

No issue with a 4Kp30 video playing for 8 minutes with no frames dropped at all.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 YouTube 4K 60fps

The Mini Air12 fared well with a 4K 60 fps YouTube video as well with 25 frames dropped out of 22,549.

Intel Processor N100 YouTube 8K 30 fps

8Kp30 was smooth as well and two frames dropped out of 11.627 after watching the video for a little over 6 minutes.

Intel Processor N100 YouTube 8K 60 fps

Finally, an 8K video played smoothly at 60 fps with only 42 dropped frames out of 26,424 while watching the video for a little over 7 minutes.

We also ran Speedometer 2.0 in Firefox to benchmark web browsing on the Intel N100 mini PC.

Speedometer Chrome GEEKOM Mini Air12

The average score was 149 runs per minute, but looking at the details for the 10 iterations the score ranged between 137 and 153.

Speedometer Detailed GEEKOM Mini Air12

GEEKOM Mini Air12 benchmarks compared to other mini PCs (and one SBC)

Let’s now compare the Ubuntu 22.04 benchmarks results for the GEEKOM Mini Air12 against two other Alder Lake-N platforms we’ve tested namely the Weibu N10 (Core i3-N305) mini PC and the UP 7000 fanless SBC (Intel Processor N100), and three more powerful mini PC from GEEKOM for reference: GEEKOM A5 (AMD Ryzen 7 5800H), GEEKOM Mini IT11 (Core i7-11390H Tiger Lake) and  GEEKOM AS 6 (AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX). All systems were tested at an ambient temperature of around 28-30°C.

Let’s go through the basic specifications of the six systems under test first before checking out the benchmark results.

[table “170” not found /]

And now the benchmark results:

[table “169” not found /]

The GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC performs slightly better than the fanless UP 7000 SBC with the same processor as might have been expected. The Core i3-N305 octa-core Alder Lake-N mini PC is faster, but only for multi-core workloads (43% faster with 7-zip max score) and graphics (50% faster with Unigine), and single core performance is actually a bit better for the Mini Air12 (provided Geekbench 5 and 6 score can be compared). We’ve added the more powerful mini PC to show how much more performance can be had when spending two to three times more…

Storage and USB performance test

Let’s now test the performance of the 512GB M.2 SSD  that comes with the mini PC using iozone3:

aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ sudo iozone -e -I -a -s 1000M -r 4k -r 16k -r 512k -r 1024k -r 16384k -i 0 -i 1 -i 2
	Iozone: Performance Test of File I/O
	        Version $Revision: 3.489 $
		Compiled for 64 bit mode.
		Build: linux-AMD64 

                                                              random    random     bkwd    record    stride                                    
              kB  reclen    write  rewrite    read    reread    read     write     read   rewrite      read   fwrite frewrite    fread  freread
         1024000       4   155407   285702   298837   327199    80281   266119                                                                
         1024000      16   534524   848546   457885   750380   190898   742003                                                                
         1024000     512  2593822  2575504  1877380  2112904  1706800  2579358                                                                
         1024000    1024  2609176  2623023  2251113  2458943  2034620  2633156                                                                
         1024000   16384  2952088  3015958  3260289  3271409  3273264  2268892                                                                

iozone test complete.

3.2GB/’s sequential read speed and 2.9 GB/s read speed are excellent for this type of entry-level hardware. For reference, the R/W speeds were respectively 3.4GB/s and 2.9GB/s in Windows 11 using CrystalDiskMark.

In order to double-check the actual speed of the USB ports, we connected the ORICO M234C3-U4 USB 3.0 NVMe SSD enclosure to each of them unless otherwise noted. lsusb and iozone3 command line utilities were then used to confirm the speed and standard used.

For example for the USB Type-A port at the front (10 Gbps):

aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ lsusb -t | grep uas
    |__ Port 3: Dev 2, If 0, Class=Mass Storage, Driver=uas, 10000M

aey@mini-air12-cnx:/media/aey/EXT4-REVIEW$ sudo iozone -e -I -a -s 100M -r 16384k -i 0 -i 1

                                                              random    random     bkwd    record    stride                                    
              kB  reclen    write  rewrite    read    reread    read     write     read   rewrite      read   fwrite frewrite    fread  freread
          102400   16384   967844   956776   858827   870770                                                                                  

iozone test complete.

The results of all 5 ports are summarized as follows (left to right)

  • Front panel
    • USB-C
      • ORICO enclosure – 480 Mbps – 39 MB/s read speed
      • MINIX USB-C dock – 5Gbps – 380MB/s read speed
    • USB-A – 10 Gbps – 858 MB/s read speed
  • Rear panel
    • USB-C – 10 Gbps – 861 MB/s read speed
    • USB-A #1 (top) – 10 Gbps – 854 MB/s read speed
    • USB-A #2 (bottom) – 10 Gbps – 845 MB/s read speed

Interestingly, while the ORICO enclosure would not work at all in Windows with the front USB-C port, it works in Linux, but only as a USB 2.0 device (480 Mbps). So we tested the port again with the MINIX NEO Storage Plus USB-C dock fitted with a 480GB (SATA) SSD showing 5 Gbps supported (The MINIX dock is a 5Gbps USB device). That USB-C port is supposed to support 10 Gbps speed, but none of our peripherals could work at that speed in Windows and Linux.

Network performance (Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi 6)

Network throughput was measured with iperf3. We started testing the gigabit Ethernet port using AAEON UP Xtreme i11 Edge mini PC at the other end.

  • Upload
aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ iperf3 -t 60 -c 192.168.31.12 -i 10
Connecting to host 192.168.31.12, port 5201
[  5] local 192.168.31.63 port 54214 connected to 192.168.31.12 port 5201
[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate         Retr  Cwnd
[  5]   0.00-10.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   943 Mbits/sec    0    332 KBytes       
[  5]  10.00-20.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec    0    643 KBytes       
[  5]  20.00-30.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec    0    939 KBytes       
[  5]  30.00-40.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec    0    939 KBytes       
[  5]  40.00-50.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   941 Mbits/sec    0    939 KBytes       
[  5]  50.00-60.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec    0    939 KBytes       
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate         Retr
[  5]   0.00-60.00  sec  6.58 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec    0             sender
[  5]   0.00-60.05  sec  6.58 GBytes   941 Mbits/sec                  receiver

iperf Done.
  • Download
aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ iperf3 -t 60 -c 192.168.31.12 -i 10 -R
Connecting to host 192.168.31.12, port 5201
Reverse mode, remote host 192.168.31.12 is sending
[  5] local 192.168.31.63 port 45212 connected to 192.168.31.12 port 5201
[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate
[  5]   0.00-10.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  10.00-20.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  20.00-30.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  30.00-40.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  40.00-50.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  50.00-60.00  sec  1.10 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec                  
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate         Retr
[  5]   0.00-60.04  sec  6.58 GBytes   941 Mbits/sec    0             sender
[  5]   0.00-60.00  sec  6.58 GBytes   942 Mbits/sec                  receiver

iperf Done.

No issues here, so let’s try full-duplex:

ey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ iperf3 -t 60 -c 192.168.31.12 -i 10 --bidir
Connecting to host 192.168.31.12, port 5201
[  5] local 192.168.31.63 port 36874 connected to 192.168.31.12 port 5201
[  7] local 192.168.31.63 port 36884 connected to 192.168.31.12 port 5201
[ ID][Role] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate         Retr  Cwnd
[  5][TX-C]   0.00-10.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   937 Mbits/sec    0    542 KBytes       
[  7][RX-C]   0.00-10.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   938 Mbits/sec                  
[  5][TX-C]  10.00-20.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   940 Mbits/sec    0    830 KBytes       
[  7][RX-C]  10.00-20.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   938 Mbits/sec                  
[  5][TX-C]  20.00-30.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   940 Mbits/sec    0    830 KBytes       
[  7][RX-C]  20.00-30.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   938 Mbits/sec                  
[  5][TX-C]  30.00-40.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   941 Mbits/sec    0    830 KBytes       
[  7][RX-C]  30.00-40.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   938 Mbits/sec                  
[  5][TX-C]  40.00-50.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   940 Mbits/sec    0    830 KBytes       
[  7][RX-C]  40.00-50.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   938 Mbits/sec                  
[  5][TX-C]  50.00-60.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   941 Mbits/sec    0    830 KBytes       
[  7][RX-C]  50.00-60.00  sec  1.09 GBytes   938 Mbits/sec                  
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[ ID][Role] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate         Retr
[  5][TX-C]   0.00-60.00  sec  6.56 GBytes   940 Mbits/sec    0             sender
[  5][TX-C]   0.00-60.04  sec  6.56 GBytes   939 Mbits/sec                  receiver
[  7][RX-C]   0.00-60.00  sec  6.55 GBytes   938 Mbits/sec    0             sender
[  7][RX-C]   0.00-60.04  sec  6.55 GBytes   937 Mbits/sec                  receiver

iperf Done.

All good. Time to test WiFi 6 through the Xiaomi Mi AX6000 router and still UP Xtreme i11 computer at the other end.

  • Upload
aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ iperf3 -t 60 -c 192.168.31.12 -i 10
Connecting to host 192.168.31.12, port 5201
[  5] local 192.168.31.62 port 56712 connected to 192.168.31.12 port 5201
[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate         Retr  Cwnd
[  5]   0.00-10.00  sec   956 MBytes   802 Mbits/sec    0   3.17 MBytes       
[  5]  10.00-20.00  sec   992 MBytes   833 Mbits/sec    0   3.17 MBytes       
[  5]  20.00-30.00  sec   989 MBytes   829 Mbits/sec    0   3.17 MBytes       
[  5]  30.00-40.00  sec   978 MBytes   820 Mbits/sec    0   3.17 MBytes       
[  5]  40.00-50.00  sec   989 MBytes   829 Mbits/sec    0   3.17 MBytes       
[  5]  50.00-60.00  sec   981 MBytes   823 Mbits/sec    0   3.17 MBytes       
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate         Retr
[  5]   0.00-60.00  sec  5.75 GBytes   823 Mbits/sec    0             sender
[  5]   0.00-60.09  sec  5.75 GBytes   821 Mbits/sec                  receiver

iperf Done.
  • Download
aey@mini-air12-cnx:~$ iperf3 -t 60 -c 192.168.31.12 -i 10 -R
Connecting to host 192.168.31.12, port 5201
Reverse mode, remote host 192.168.31.12 is sending
[  5] local 192.168.31.62 port 49134 connected to 192.168.31.12 port 5201
[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate
[  5]   0.00-10.00  sec   951 MBytes   798 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  10.00-20.00  sec   966 MBytes   810 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  20.00-30.00  sec   922 MBytes   773 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  30.00-40.00  sec   940 MBytes   788 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  40.00-50.00  sec   975 MBytes   818 Mbits/sec                  
[  5]  50.00-60.00  sec   974 MBytes   817 Mbits/sec                  
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate         Retr
[  5]   0.00-60.04  sec  5.60 GBytes   801 Mbits/sec    0             sender
[  5]   0.00-60.00  sec  5.59 GBytes   801 Mbits/sec                  receiver

iperf Done.

Over 800 Mbps in either direction. That’s an awesome performance for what’s supposed to be an entry-level mini PC. As usual, we got much better results in Linux than in Windows where the DL and UL speeds were respectively 463 Mbps and 220 Mbps.

Thermal performance

We ran a stress test while checking the CPU temperature to see how well the Mini Air12 cools the Intel Processor N100 CPU.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 CPU temperature

No problem here with the maximum temperature never exceeding 77°C in a room at 28°C.

Fan noise

The mini PC has a very quiet fan under most workloads, and it only becomes (barely) audible under heavy loads. We measured the fan noise with a power level meter placed at around 5 centimeters from the top of the device

  • Idle – Around 39-40 dBA
  • Stress test – 40 to 48.5 dBA

The ambient noise in the room was measured at 37 – 38 dBA. Note that as a general matter, fans may become noisier after a few years of use, but that’s not something we can easily test in a review…

GEEKOM Mini Air12 power consumption

The power consumption was measured with a wall power meter

  • Power off –  0.8 Watt
  • Booting –  12 to 25 Watts
  • Idle –  8 to 10 Watts
  • Video playback – 12 to 20 Watts(Youtube 8Kp60 in Firefox)
  • Stress test  – 21 to 24 Watts
  • SBC-Bench.sh script – 10 to 25 Watts

Note: The mini PC was connected to WiFi 6, two USB RF dongles for a wireless keyboard and mouse combo, and a VGA monitor (through an HDMI to VGA adapter) during measurements.

Conclusion

GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC works well with Ubuntu 22.04 Linux distribution. Web browsing is responsive, 4K and 8K YouTube video playback is smooth up to 60 fps, the NVMe SSD is very fast for an entry-level mini PC, and gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 networking performance is great, although we would have wished for a 2.5GbE port in the mini PC. The fan is very quiet and the CPU temperature under load is relatively low at 77°C, so we’d expect the Mini Air12 to work well in most conditions, even in hotter climates. The only real problem we had was the USB-C port on the front panel that wouldn’t work properly with some of our peripherals. Other USB ports are fine and work at 10 Gbps.

We’d like to thank GEEKOM for sending the Mini Air12 mini PC for review. The model reviewed here with an Intel Processor N100 CPU, 16GB DDR5, and a 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD can be purchased for $229 on the company’s online store with the coupon code cnxsoftware20. It’s also available on Amazon with a $20 discount with the coupon code CNXAIR128OFF.

CNXSoft: This review is a translation – with some additional insights – of the original article on CNX Software Thailand by Suthinee Kerdkaew.

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7 Comments
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urostor
urostor
4 months ago

Nice review. It might have been worth trying it out also with kernel 6.5, which can be installed on Ubuntu Jammy without a problem (sudo apt install linux-generic-hwe-22.04-edge), as it’s a fairly new CPU.

hrr
hrr
4 months ago

Why would you want to install an obsolete kernel? The 6.5-kernel is already EOL since early december.
I’m currently using 6.6 for a debian bookworm laptop (which is available in sid, although the firmware updates are lagging). The alternative 6.1 works out of the box.

urostor
urostor
4 months ago

Because this is the latest kernel available in official Ubuntu repositories for 22.04.

Sergio
Sergio
4 months ago

My experience has been totally oposite: when using Ubuntu 22.04.3, the Geekom Mini Air12 freezes or reboots itself constantly. It could happen at any moment, no matter what I am doing…

Sergio
Sergio
4 months ago

Nothing out of the ordinary, I think:

  • An HDMI monitor (1920×1080). I’ve tried booth via the HDMI port and the mini DP port (using an miniDP-HDMI adapter).
  • Logitech K400+ wireless keyboard/mouse combo
  • And at times, an USB pendrive

Thanks!!

Sergio
Sergio
3 months ago

More on my issues with the Mini Air12: It freezes even when using a Windows USB installer or the Windows based restore image available from Geekom’s support website (“Windows System Apply Tool”), so it’s not Linux/Ubuntu related! It freezes when the system load is high, specially -but not only- when doing something that is graphics intensive (Xonotic test from Phoronix Test Suit, i.e.). I’ve been able to reproduce the issues with a second unit that we purchase at the same time Now I think it’s a hardware issue, maybe related to power or thermal management. I will contact Geekom to… Read more »

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